Sometimes it's hard to know when to charge expedited rates. It really
takes getting a little experience under your belt to know what you
personally are willing and able to do at a "normal" rate. What adds to
the confusion is CR agencies who have established contract rates and
turnaround times with, say, large insurance companies, saying, If you
give us all your depo work, we'll do it at a cheap rate and get it back
to you real fast. Good for the agency, tough for reporters and
scopists. Suddenly the reporter who already was kept busy full-time is
being sent out on the same number of jobs, but the rate is less and
they're due sooner. This all trickles down to scopists and
proofreaders. Over the last few years I've seen reporters who have
gotten fed up with this and left their agencies to go on their own or
join agencies who don't have such contracts set up. I think capitalism,
being what it is, will sort this all out eventually. But for scopists,
we have to decide whether work given to us by reporters under the
dictates of these agencies is work we want to take. Starting out, I
would say yes, take it, work hard, get the experience, establish a track
record, and then later on you can become more selective and/or charge a
higher rate if you want to.
What does doing daily copies entail? I'm curious as to what you have to go through. It is difficult?
Depending on how good or bad the reporter writes, a daily copy can be a
What happens is you have to produce the transcript that they're writing that
Take, for example, all the stuff that has been going on in FL with the
election, and they've had scopists actually in the court room with them.
That scopist is reading and cleaning up the trial transcript as it is being
written. The attorneys are wanting the transcript ASAP after the day's
session. And that means that day, not the next day, not next week.
The capital murder case that I worked on was a breeze. The reporter is an
excellent one - has a huge dictionary. He was using audiosync. He was
located in Beaumont, TX; his scopist was in Dallas, hooked up via phone line
to him and was receiving both the translated job and the audiosync
simultaneously. She was scoping as he was reporting. Then after he had a
chance to go through whatever questions she might have at the end of the
he would send it to me to final proofread. Worked slick - but it meant I
up late, late, late. The first day was a banger - 310 pages!!!
It's not hard - you're just under time pressure.
Just be thankful that you don't have to do it the way it used to be done.
I've done daily copy in court before where there had to be two reporters.
They would each take for about 15-20 minutes at a time, switch places. The
one who isn't taking would rush back, dictate what they had just taken, rush
it to the typist, the typist would then type it up, wait for the next round,
and start all over again. Usually there were two typists, one for each
reporter. And you could not number pages if you got ahead of the other
typist if she wasn't finished before you were.
Not only did you have to type, but that was in the days of making carbon
sets. Depending on how many copies that were sold, you had a minimum of the
original, one copy and a file copy (usually done on a colored paper to
distinguish it from the rest), with a piece of carbon paper between each
sheet. You were the one who had to make up the carbon sets (they did not
come pre-made). And hopefully you could make up enough so that you didn't
have to stop to make up more in the middle of typing. So be thankful it's
all computerized now! :)
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